View Full Version : SPAM : Evasion techniques

25-04-2003, 03:16 AM
I have just been reading the BBC website and the following quote may be useful to some of the forum people :

The researchers found that spammers used harvesting programs such as robots and spiders to record e-mail addresses listed on both personal and corporate websites.

One way of avoiding this mail-harvesting, said the team, is to replace characters in an e-mail address with human-readable equivalents - for example john@domain.com would become john at domain dot com.

Another successful evasion technique is to replace the characters in an e-mail address with the HTML equivalent.


Interesting - Seems good advice !!

Mark Veldhuizen
25-04-2003, 03:58 AM
Eh thats a lot of hard work for no real reason. I post my email everywhere, get no spam. If I do I block it.

Meh. If a mate said "here, add me to msn: john at hotmail dot com" I wouldn't bother because usally I just copy/paste. Meh, I'm lazy.

25-04-2003, 06:46 AM
That's interesting, Mark. It raises, again, a question that's long bothered me; WHY do some people get oceans of spam and others hardly any at all, when they don't take precautions like the above?

I insert 'nospam' between the @ and my domain-name when posting in newsgroups*I have removed any sensible email address from my browsers; I use alisases where possible. I still get up to 200 spams per day.

What are others' ideas about sensible precautions? "Go only to 'reputable' websites and discussion fora," is one I often hear, which makes 'spam' a useful ally of the censors, and those who would have the internet owned by big business and big media, emasculating it of all individuality. A thought worth pondering on.

I also think some of my spam simply originates from people I've upset by my opinions, and who "volunteer" me for things that will get me spammed. Perhaps, Mark, your publicly-expressed online views are less controversial than those of people who do get a lot of spam.

Supplementary question: do you sometimes get the impression that a good proportion of spam is not directed at selling anything, but is simply "noise", aimed at making email an inconvenient tool to use?

Some I get has titles and bodies which are just nonsense (and I'm not talking about Taiwanese 'transcription'; it's all regular alphabetic; just makes no sense), or spam that points to websites that don't exist.

* The technique mentioned, BTW, is called "munging" and there is a recent thread here on the derivation of the word, for the philologists among us.


25-04-2003, 09:30 AM
I have several email addresses. One is my ISP one, which I don't post on websites, but I do use to subscribe to occasional websites. One is my spam one which I do post on the net, and gets a lot of (mostly disgusting) spam.

But another is one I have never posted online, and usually receives no emails at all... however a couple of days ago it go its second piece of spam in the past year. The most interesting thing about that is that the email address has 16 characters before the @ symbol, and is based at a fairly uncommon domain based in Sweden. It is very unlikely that a randomly generated email address would have found it. So how was my email address found? I doubt the host has sold my address, as then I'd more than likely be receiving a lot more than two spams a year.

Anyway I don't know what that's got to do with anything - it just intrigues me :)


Greg S
25-04-2003, 11:54 AM
I've got about a zillion email addresses, and virtually the only ones that get spammed are from bots that have found them on the Net - and the type of spam is the sort that offers website promotion and that sort of bull. I've come to think that a lot of addresses get added by spammers starting chain letters, for whatever cause, and getting the cc addresses from them when the mail has found its way back to them. Chain letters are EVIL, and perhaps the best reason that I get so little regular spam is that all my friends know that woe betide them if they send one to me! lol